UNITED Kingdom politicians are up in arms with Tory and Labour MPs in fierce agreement that the Poms pay too much in beer tax.
“If the Brits are spitting chips over their beer tax, Aussies are just about weeping in their Weet-Bix,” Brewers Association of Australia CEO Brett Heffernan said today.
“We pay a full one-third more than them in tax on a beer. At $2.26 per litre Aussies pay the fourth highest beer tax in the industrialised world, while the Brits at $1.52 (AUD) per litre are a distant fifth.
“Australia’s beer tax went up last week and it will go up, again, in August. It’s been quietly going up every six months since 1983. It gets worse for Aussies enjoying a beer. We pay tax on our tax. The 10% GST applies to everything, including the beer tax.
“In 2016-17, taxes on beer drinkers netted the Australian Government $3.613 billion – that’s $2.01 billion in beer tax, $201 million in GST on the beer tax, then a further $1.4 billion in GST at the retail end.”
Last week the BBC reported on a packed debate in Westminster Hall, where politicians from all sides called for a reduction in the tax burden on pubs and breweries in next month’s UK Budget.
To shouts of “shame”, Tory MP Mike Wood said: “If you bought a pint in each of the other [main] beer-producing countries – a pint in Germany, a pint in the Netherlands, one in Spain, one in Belgium and one in Poland – you would still have paid less duty on those fives pints than you would have on just a single pint bought in Britain.”
Labour MP Lilian Greenwood relayed the concerns of her local tap room, which “worries that if action isn’t taken on beer duty… the price of a couple of pints in the pub simply won’t be able to compete with the supermarkets much longer”.
“It’s a timely debate in the UK and a wake-up call for Australia,” Mr Heffernan added. “Last year Boris Johnson vowed that if he became PM he would freeze so-called ‘sin taxes’, including on alcohol, so his government may be preparing to make good on that pledge.
“The Poms reckon they are hard done by and being ripped off. Frankly, we agree. But what does that say about the exorbitant and ever-increasing beer tax Aussies are paying?
“Freezing Australia’s automatic six-monthly beer tax hike isn’t good enough. All that would do is lock-in the extreme beer tax Aussies are already paying. Only by cutting the rate of beer tax can punters see serious relief at the checkout and in the pub.”